Posted April 15, 2008

Videolink gives business class real-life look at corporate project planning

Bridging the gap between academics and the corporate world, students in the Fox School’s Management Information Systems capstone class got a first-hand look at how Campbell Soup Company handles requirement analysis for a multi-million-dollar IT project.

Via a real-time video link in the conference room of the IEI in Speakman Hall 20 undergraduate students were connected to a meeting of Campbell Soup executives in late February. This enabled them to observe the meeting without intruding on it. The purpose of the conference was to brainstorm ideas and gather requirements for a new IT system for Campbell Soup.

The meeting is the second phase of the students’ three-part capstone project. The first phase took place last month when Campbell Soup employees traveled to the Fox class to educate students about the purpose and goals of the requirement analysis meeting. The third phase, which will be an informal social event between the Campbell employees and the students, occurs in April.

“The goal is to incorporate key concepts learned in class into a real-life scenario,” said Munir Mandviwalla, associate professor and chair of MIS, who teaches the capstone.

As the Campbell meeting progressed, Mandviwalla was able to mute the volume and interject comments for students about the company’s leadership dynamics, conference structure and group effectiveness. This would not have been possible if the students had been physically present at the meeting.

At the conclusion of the meeting, a two-way video link enabled students to hear the Campbell perspective on what had taken place and then pose questions to the executives. The real-time nature of the meeting created a sense of excitement among students.

“It allowed us students to peek into the real world of business and to see how the skills and techniques we've been learning in our MIS classes are used in a real business setting,” said MIS senior Anuja Deshmukh. “The translation of terminology and practices from the textbook to the office setting is very interesting.”

—Written by Holly Otterbein

For the Fox School of Business